(Inside: As a millennial mom that grew up as a definite brat, I’m sharing 3 ridiculously simple ways for millennials to avoid raising a brat.)
I’m a brat. A picky eater. A whiner. Overly sensitive. I couldn’t keep my room clean, and I screamed and cried every time my mom came near me with a hairbrush. I was 100%, without a shadow of a doubt, a brat. I was also born in the early nineties, which places me squarely in the millennial generation.
Now, there are a lot of things that I’m doing differently than my parents did. One of the main things? I absolutely will not be raising a brat. Plain and simple. I’m a mom of four kids, I’m having my fifth any day now, and not one of those kids will be a brat like I was. They will not be picky. They will not be messy. So today I’m sharing with you these three stupid simple ways Millennials can avoid raising brats.
Three Ridiculously Simple Ways Millennials Can Avoid Raising Brats
Before you get all cranky at me and start saying “but my kid IS picky” or “my kid IS whiny/bratty/messy/enter-adjective-here”, or before you start saying that I can’t possibly understand your kid and that it’s easy for me to say my kids won’t be that way, let’s chat a bit.
I mentioned before, I’m a mother of four. My oldest? He’s gifted in the literal academic term (not the “every kid has gifts” way) and it comes with something called “asynchrony”. Basically, he’s 7 years old, with the brain of a 10-ish-year-old, and the behavior development of a 4-5-year-old. My second? He’s autistic, which comes with the eating struggles, meltdowns, and more. The next? He has sensory processing disorder and a global developmental delay. And the youngest? Well, she’s neurotypical, but she is the only girl (until Sweet C is born!) and the baby of the family.
If I can take these steps for Millennials to avoid raising brats with my kids? You can definitely do it with yours. I promise, every single mom reading this can raise all of their kids without raising a single brat.
What Happens When We Label Kids “Brats”
Like I said before, I grew up a brat, without question. There was no hesitation at all, by anyone, in labeling me a brat. I mean, I whined a lot, was overly sensitive, and threw fits like you wouldn’t believe. Even being called a brat could set me over the edge.
See, I didn’t know why I was the way I was. I didn’t know why the texture of onions made me panic. I didn’t know why brushing my hair seemed to hurt me so much more than it hurt my sister or my friends. I didn’t know why I cried so easily when I got overwhelmed.
As it turns out? I’m autistic. Just like my second son, A-Man, there’s a reason that I do the things that I do. But I’m getting a bit off topic. This post isn’t about why I grew up a brat, it’s about how Millennials can avoid raising brats. So now, let’s get to the nitty gritty with the stupid simple tips.
#1 Understanding Your “Bratty” Child
Okay, the very first thing that all Millennial parents need to do to avoid raising brats is truly understanding your bratty child. Think about their different attributes that make them “bratty”.
- They’re picky.
- They’re uncooperative.
- They’re whiny.
- They’re demanding.
- They’re messy.
- They’re strong-willed.
But where does that really come from? Is your picky child really struggling with the sensory overwhelm at mealtimes? Is your whiny child not sure how to communicate their needs clearly? Trying your hardest to understand the base for your child’s bratty behavior is the first step to avoid raising a brat.
#2 Re-Framing Your Mindset
I know Millennials tend to get a bad rap for being “woo-woo”, and I promise I won’t get too woo-woo in this section, but the fact is that our mindset is huge. When your child goes out of their way to splash in a puddle, are they being “naughty” or “adventurous”?
When your child goes out of their way to splash in a puddle, are they being “naughty” or “adventurous”? When they spend fifteen minutes struggling to put on their own shoes when you really need to go, are they being “difficult” or “taking initiative”?
Re-framing the way that we view our kids is probably the biggest strategy for Millennials to avoid raising a brat. Because the bottom line is, I wasn’t a brat because I was picky.
Because the bottom line is, I wasn’t a brat because I was picky. Or because I was messy. Or because I cried a lot. I was a brat because that’s how I was viewed. That’s the label that I was given before I was even old enough to understand what it truly meant.
I’m raising four (soon to be five) kids. All of my kids have various struggles, strengths, diagnoses, and more. But not a single one of them is a brat, simply because I refuse to raise them as brats.
#3 Giving Your Kid Coping Strategies
Okay, now I know it’s a lot simpler said than done to change your mindset and see all of your kids’ difficult behaviors in a positive light. The fact is there are some serious struggles that our kids have that need to be addressed. We can’t always wait an extra hour to get in the car while they manage their emotions during the transition.
So what’s a Millennial mama to do?
Sometimes it’s hard to help our kids develop coping strategies. I mean, we grown-ups get stuck in our ways and think “just do it, it’s so easy” because we forget how difficult it was when we grew up. Or maybe we didn’t struggle with the same things our kids struggle with now.
But if your child struggles with meltdowns, I challenge you to dig deeper to see what’s really behind that defiant behavior, or any behavior you’re struggling with… And the best coping strategy you can use is to help with what’s happening beneath the surface…
Because your child’s behaviors are much like an iceberg. On the surface you see…
* a child that is clingy and doesn’t like to be alone,
* a child that crosses his arms and shuts down
* a child that is scared of ever getting a wrong answer
* a child that doesn’t like to go new places
Or a child that becomes “hyper” when new guests arrive at your house.
It’s easy to look at these behaviors as just what we see. It’s easy to make assumptions about why our children are acting out or doing inexplicable things.
However, I challenge you to look for the other 85%. Look deeper.
What’s hiding behind what you see?